San Clemente 12-19-20


Well-Known Member
Got to the pier around 5:15AM. We were the first ones there and headed out to the end. We both fished hi-lo rigs with size 6 bait holder and a size 8 mosquito. On the bait holder we rig a piece of live blood worm. On the mosquito, a piece of cut, head-on, market shrimp. I also fished a larger setup with a 3/0 SSW hook that I baited with a half of a market shrimp (the head half with the shell on). Action was slow at the beginning. Hooked up on a couple queen fish casting out to the reef and slowly reeling in on the smaller setup.

As the sun began to rise, the bite picked up and we started consistently catching fish. The pace was perfect. Not too much to be overwhelmed given that I had to fish my rods and also help with unhooking my girl's fish. Bite was consistently good for us. We began to draw attention from the other person fishing with us at the end of the pier. He jokingly said "I hate you" and "make sure you leave some fish in the ocean for the rest of us." As he left he offered, "see you next time Professor Perch." He asked and I offered what we were doing differently.

The highlight of the day for me was doubling on a good sized black perch and a small kelp bass. The highlight for my girl was catching her first Spotfin croacker.

Another point of satisfaction for me was being able to get my girl on fish "graduating" her from our initial approach of fishing sabikis for bait fish. The pier was less crowded today so she felt more comfortable putting more energy into her casts. Getting a little farther out made a big difference and also not giving up her spot at the end when other people started showing up helped as well. In the end she caught 11 fish total.

Other action on the pier. Largely mackerel were absent today but a few were caught closer to when we left at around 12:30PM. Also a decent sized Catalina blue perch was caught and a keeper sized female sheephead.

As a team, our final count was:
9 Yellowfin croaker
6 Walleye perch
5 Black perch
3 Kelp Bass
2 Spotfin croakers
2 Queen fish
1 Jack Smelt

For the next time, we want to tweak things just slightly to "size-up" our catches. Our idea is to use a threader to thread a whole blood worm onto a leader so that it is protected from small fish trying to grab and and run but still presenting a large bait to entice a bigger kelp bass or croaker to go for it. Also considering throwing out a live smelt to the reef and seeing if that attracts anything.

We ended up keeping the two spotfins and cooking them in an Chinese-inspired way, baking them with ginger and scallions in a sweet soy/rice wine sauce and we pan fried one of the black perch.

The sides were cilantro rice with butter and garlic and my take on a japanese inspired dish called Spinach, corn, bacon where I added roasted anaheim chilis and shitake mushrooms.


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